How to Get the Most Out of Your Fall Planted Mums

Mums are an essential and beautiful part of the fall landscape. These stunning plants are a welcome addition to your front porch and add a pop of seasonal color to your fall displays indoors and out.  When it comes to caring for potted mums, there are a few things that you can do to increase their longevity and keep them looking fresh and beautiful.

Placement

Set your indoor potted mums near a window where they will receive bright, indirect light all day. Outside, mums require at least five hours of morning sunlight and prefer afternoon shade. Keep daytime temperatures near 73 degrees F and avoid exposing plants to extreme heat or frost.

If your winter temperature doesn’t drop below freezing, you can leave your potted mums outdoors. If you get a cold winter, bring them indoors before the first hard freeze and place in a window with bright, indirect light.

Water

Check the soil moisture of your mums daily, and water plants when the soil is dry down one inch.  Water the soil surface until moisture begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. Make sure to empty the water collected in the drip tray after each water.

Deadheading 

To encourage more blooms, be sure to cut off the flowers after they wilt. Also, cut back any foliage that begins to turn brown.

Feeding

Feed mums in the spring when you see new growth. Water with a soluble, balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer once a month. Be sure to dilute the fertilizer per package instructions. In midsummer, when flower buds start to show color, discontinue feeding plants.

Encourage bushy growth

To encourage healthy and bushy growth, remove the tips of new stems when they are 5 inches long. Keep pinching them back from spring until late in the summer. Keeping tips pinched back will also help encourage flower bud formation and keep plants from blooming until the fall.

Repotting

If mums become too overcrowded in their pot, they could suffer damage from insects. The healthiest plants are those that are re-potted once every two to three years. Be sure to use high-end, lightweight potting soil and a pot with good drainage.

Fun fall ideas for mums

Mums are hardy and extremely versatile in the fall landscape. Here are a few fun ideas to showcase these beautiful plants:

  • Hollow out a few pumpkins of various sizes and place potted mums inside.
  • Place potted mum plants in metal buckets of various sizes and put them on top of a bale of straw.
  • Wrap a small mum in burlap and tie with a festive fall bow for a dramatic indoor fall display.
  • Line a walkway or deck with two alternating colors of mums.
  • Place a potted mum in a large planting container and surround it with tiny pumpkins and gourds.
  • Create a stunning fall window box with small mums and other fall plants such as pansies and ornamental cabbage.
  • Hang fall mums in pretty baskets from your front porch.
  • Fill a wheelbarrow full of mums and other fall plants.

-Susan Patterson

 

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